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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

Topic: Mary Wallon

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April 29, 2014 at 6:55 PM

NCLB waiver: Redo No Child Left Behind

Recently, The Seattle Times quoted U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s 2011 testimony, “We should get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair and flexible.” Yet Duncan continues to enforce a failing law, No Child Left Behind [”State leaders should save $40 million federal education…

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Comments | More in Education | Topics: Arne Duncan, education, Mary Wallon

April 14, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Unfortunate it takes the McCleary decision to get legislators to act

Although Washington state lawmakers may be “gearing up for a thoughtful debate,” some voters hoped they might have at least begun that during the session just finished ["Initiative 1351 aims to corner Legislature on K-12," Opinion, April 12]. The McCleary decision calls for increased funding for the purpose of dealing with problems such as excessively large class sizes and excessive caseloads for…

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Comments | More in Education | Topics: Initiative 1351, Legislature, Mary Wallon

March 12, 2014 at 7:04 AM

Teacher evaluations: Legislature’s reluctance a step in the right direction

Multiple choice: Many parents and teachers believe that states should not be forced to use student test scores in evaluating teachers because: A. Complaints that tests promote a narrowed curriculum; B. Evidence that students in more affluent districts score higher (stable residences and sufficient food could be factors); C. Concern that students and teachers would be judged by…

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Comments | More in Education | Topics: Common Core, education, Mary Wallon

February 11, 2014 at 6:03 AM

Pension reform: the well-being of city employees; realities don’t reflect rhetoric

Messing with the well-being of city employees

In The Seattle Times’ Business section aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia warns that Boeing is running big risks in forcing major concessions from its unions [“Analyst Aboulafia lauds 777X, berates Boeing for creating ‘ill will', Business/Technology, Feb. 6].

He comments, “If you don’t have the workers on your team working with you and feeling good, you’ve lost a big chunk of the battle.” It is well known that the forced concession angering Boeing machinists is the substitution of a 401(k) plan for their defined-benefit pension.

Yet, on the following page, former State Auditor Brian Sonntag suggests that Seattle might do well to follow this same path with our city employees [“Seattle’s pension system is unsustainable,” Opinion, Feb. 5]. Do we really want those supplying our essential city services, many of whom make considerably less than Boeing workers, to work for us feeling they are no longer respected players on our city team?

Edith Ruby, Seattle

Realities of retirement planning do not reflect rhetoric

What if everyone who has a mortgage had to make all of their future payments right now? It would not be surprising to find that the total sum could not be paid if the amount owed on those mortgages “came due all at once.” Although this is what former State Auditor Brian Sonntag presents as a problem, it is not what happens with mortgages, nor does it happen with pension obligations.

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Comments | More in Pensions | Topics: Boeing, Brian Sonntag, Edith Ruby